The livin’ may be easy in the summertime,
as the song goes, but unfortunately that’s not always the case for your pets. Summer brings some unique challenges to their health – from fireworks to mosquitoes to lawn chemicals.
But don’t worry! We’ve got all the advice you need to ensure you and your four-legged family members can enjoy a happy and healthy summer.
Independence Day may be behind us, but try telling that to your neighbor who still has a box full of bottle rockets and roman candles. Even if the fireworks are over in your neighborhood, other loud summer noises – such as thunder, parades, or passing motorcycles – can scare your pets, especially in this season when windows are often open.
If your dog experiences these loud noises outside, plan ahead. “Make sure your dog is microchipped and that your information is up to date,” said Dean Daubert, Chief Operations Officer at Anderson Humane. That way if your dog gets scared and bolts, she can be returned to you once she’s found.
There are also a number of products that offer relief. Thundershirts, or vests that apply a calming amount of pressure, offer comfort to anxious dogs or cats. Dean also suggested pheromone products to calm anxiety or stress, adding that these products are readily available at most pet retailers.
Another strategy is to block the scary noises inside with soft music or a white noise machine. “If your dog or cat has a safe place in your home, like a basement or crate, make sure they have access to that when loud noises happen,” Dean said. Cats, who have sensitive hearing, as well as most other house pets, can be calmed with these products as well.
Mosquitos aren’t just a nuisance to you, they can pose a real threat to your dog or cat. Their bites can cause everything from skin irritations at the least to heartworms at the worst. While not every mosquito carries heartworms, all it takes is one bite from the wrong bug for your pet to become infected.
Heartworm disease is treatable, but the injections are expensive (up to $1,500 for larger dogs) and often painful. Left untreated, the disease can kill your pet within a couple years.
Obviously, avoiding heartworm is the goal. “It’s important to keep your dog on heartworm prevention medication year-round,” said Dean. “And cats should stay indoors.” That latter point also keeps cats safe from other outdoor threats in the summer.
Dean also suggests getting rid of any stagnant water on your property, which can draw mosquitos. “Also, avoid letting your dog drink stagnant water as it can carry Leptospirosis [a bacterial infection],” he said.
A beautiful lawn can bring joy, but it doesn’t have to come at the expense of your pet’s health. Many fertilizers and pesticides can be dangerous if ingested by your pet, so be sure to keep them away from your four-legged friends.
“Always look for pet-safe lawn-care products,” said Dean, advice worth following for indoor cleaning products as well. “And always follow the directions on the containers. They will say how long after use to avoid having pets on your lawn.”
If your dog gets exposed to dangerous chemicals, be sure to wash their paws and any other areas of contact. If they ingest anything harmful, call the ASPCA Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.